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Selected Letters

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  507 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The greatest orator in Roman history, Marcus Tullius Cicero remained one of the republic's chief supporters throughout his life, guided by profound political beliefs that illuminated his correspondence with both close friends and powerful aristocrats. A chronicle of a crumbling civilization during the era when the republic disintegrated and was replaced by despotism, his L ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 288 pages
Published September 25th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1925)
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May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, latin
The Cambridge edition edited by Shackleton Bailey is so so great. I've read excerpts from Cicero's correspondence before but reading so many letters back-to-back was really entertaining. Cicero's letters are much less formal in style than his speeches. Though, I got the distinct feeling that Cicero cannot quite help himself from the occasional, unnecessary rhetorical trick. Shackleton Bailey includes very few letters not written by Cicero and I could immediately tell the difference in writing st ...more
Timothy Phin
My review is NOT of Cicero, but of this particular edition. While I have no qualms with Professor Bailey's selection of letters, I do have some issues with the commentary itself. I'd selected this for my advanced, undergraduate course, and but in retrospect I'm not sure it was the best decision. The commentary was wide-ranging, and certainly showcases Professor Bailey's considerable knowledge of Cicero, but it was also unhelpful for undergraduates puzzling their way through the particular, and o ...more
Aug 05, 2015 added it
Shelves: literature, classics
Read or translated them in Latin. Cicero seemed very human and the grief he has over his daughters dead was very touching, he wrote some things that are very accurate today.
Zachary Rudolph
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I absorb myself in literary work, writing or reading. Some of my visitors listen to me as a man of learning, because I know a little more than themselves. All the rest of the time is given to the claims of the body. As for my country, I have already mourned her longer and more deeply than any mother ever mourned her only son.”
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For those who treasure glimpses into the minds and hearts of historical figures, and who enjoy filling out the record with greater insights into personality and character, letters such as these are a boon. It's a wonder to think that after two thousand years we can look in on the great statesman during his informal moments - though of course the business of office/court was never far from his mind (consequently several letters also provide interesting pathways into events of the time).
This selec
Jimmy Lu
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Triumph. Bravery. Disillusionment. Vanity. Righteousness. A desire to do his country good. A desire to prove his own worth. A desire for acknowledgement, from the world and from himself. Cicero the man was of many faces. For as much as the ancients insisted that a man's character remained fixed since birth, Cicero was always evolving. Justification. Rationalization. Excuses to friends and to himself. His letters afford us a front seat to the portrait of Cicero, the politician and the man, of his ...more
David Hunt
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Cicero was a man of quick wit, as evidenced by his speeches, of deep conviction, as evidenced by his essays, and, from the evidence of his letters at least, a good friend.

(This isn't the exact edition I read.)
Lauren Huibregtse
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Although Cicero's insight comes through even in his personal letters, his excessive use of flattery for servants of the state makes this book rather dry reading. It is an interesting peek into the great senator and orator's mental life.
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Nothing tends more to the reader's enjoyment than varieties of circumstance and vicissitudes of fortune." Basically!
Silvio Curtis
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for class. The closest thing we'll get to an unedited look into the thought processes of a politician from the last chaotic years of the Roman Republic.
Ian Vloke-wurth
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone.
Oct 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Really surprised at how much I enjoyed these.
Jan 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: classics
supposed to be a wonderful read...recommended by alberto manguel
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The First Lawyer 1 4 Dec 17, 2012 01:54PM  
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • The Later Roman Empire (A.D. 354-378)
  • The Secret History
  • The Georgics
  • The Comedies
  • The Poems
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia (Thyestes, Phaedra, Troades, Oedipus, Octavia)
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • Makers of Rome: Nine Lives ( Coriolanus, Fabius Maximus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Sertorius, Brutus & Mark Antony)
  • The War with Hannibal (The History of Rome, #21-30)
  • Discourse on Method and Related Writings
  • Bellum Catilinae
  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus
  • The Conquest of Gaul
  • The Civil Wars
  • From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68
  • The Rise of the Roman Empire
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. Cicero is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.
More about Marcus Tullius Cicero

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“Nemo est qui tibi sapientius suadere possit te ipso: numquam labere, si te audies.

(Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself: if you heed yourself, you'll never go wrong.)”
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